REVIEW: Top Five [2014]

“What did the room smell like?” I’m prefacing this review with an admission anyone who reads my thoughts already knows: I think Chris Rock is a pretty terrible actor. Love the guy’s stand-up, find him hilarious in real life and on paper, but stick him in a movie and he almost looks scared. The only comedian more unnatural on screen is Jerry Seinfeld—whose cameo here helps prove it—another funny dude always seeming to be waiting for the “cut” or laugh, whichever comes first. I say this because that attitude on…

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Picking Winners at the 86th Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are generally quite boring, since we often know well in advance what is going to win Best Picture, Director, etc. But this year? Not so much. Sure, there are heavy favorites — see below. But it is entirely possible there will be some real surprises. Of course, I could be completely wrong. But if I am, hopefully Bill Altreuter and Jared Mobarak will be right. And away we go … —Chris Best ActorBruce Dern: NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale: American Hustle…

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REVIEW: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [2013]

“I always save your knick-knacks” What began as a 1939 short story by James Thurber debuting in The New Yorker, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty found its way to the big screen in 1947 led by Danny Kaye. The tale of a daydreamer losing himself in excitingly heroic fantasies while sleepwalking through a daytrip of chores in the city with his wife expanded into a magazine editor finding more interest in the pulp stories he reads than the drab life he leads. It’s a conceit mirrored today with Mitty…

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REVIEW: This is the End [2013]

“Is the power of Christ compelling me? Is that what’s happening?” Way back in 2007 there was a YouTube trailer for a short film entitled Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse that whetted fans’ appetites only to never seen by the public. Time went on, nothing appeared to be happening—which wasn’t necessarily a horrible thing since the trailer wasn’t all that funny—and eventually word came down it was being retooled by the titular Seth Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg into their directorial debut This is the End. Now six…

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BNFF12 REVIEW: 10Terrorists! [2012]

“What’s the difference between a terrorist and a person?” It’s not a matter of if we’ll ever get to the point where reality television tackles a subject like terrorism for entertainment, but when. Preempting that unfortunate day, writer/director Dee McLachlan gives us the very funny and timely game show entitled “Who Wants to be a Terrorist” as the premise to her satiric look at salacious media and the warped minds it reaches, 10Terrorists! Mocking the likes of “American Idol”, “The Amazing Race”, “The Apprentice”, and “Iron Chef” amongst others, the…

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REVIEW: Knight and Day [2010]

“Your timing to open that door was sublime” Maybe Tom Cruise has the right idea changing gears into comedic fare. Ever since the brilliant cameo in Tropic Thunder, his want to branch out has been obvious—although the Les Grossman film is a scary thought in my mind—but until seeing Knight and Day, I had my doubts he could pull it off. Cruise has always had the capacity to deliver lines with humor, but here he does so without fail from start to finish. I think the fact it’s an action/comedy…

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REVIEW: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [2010]

“It’s like High School, but without the Musical” Who else could have the catchy pop beats to lull a trio of mythologically inclined heroes into a trance, keeping them from their task at hand, than Lady Gaga? Director Chris Columbus made the right call on that one as he takes the plunge into yet another popular fantasy series, hoping to achieve the success he had in starting the Harry Potter saga. My main gripe with the first two films there was that he stayed too true to the source material,…

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The 2009 Oscars … ‘nuff said

The 2009 Academy Awards have closed out the 2008 award season once and for all. And in an inspired move, actually ushered in the new year of movies by ending the show with a montage of 2009 releases. It was a departure somewhat from previous years as it appeared the Academy wanted to try some new things out, making the ceremony a bit more intimate while also possibly shortening its length (well the latter didn’t end up happening). I’ll say that production-wise, this was one of my favorite incarnations ever.…

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Top Ten Films of 2008: The Year of World War II

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all, the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I don’t know what precipitated 2008 being the year of the World War II movie, but of the 100+ releases I saw, six of them concerned it in some regard. The year saw more than its share of war from all decades with Che, Stop-Loss, Waltz with Bashir, and even Tropic Thunder, however, the Holocaust spent…

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REVIEW: Tropic Thunder [2008]

“Welcome to the goodie room” Despite my somewhat indifference, bordering on dislike, of Ben Stiller and most of what he does, Tropic Thunder has been on my much-anticipated list for some time now. The audacity of what he was attempting, spoofing the industry that was giving him the money to do so, blatantly and lovingly, was too great to ignore. And then there is the cast of stars with cameo after cameo of surprise faces joining in on the fun, not to mention the intense marketing strategy pushing it along.…

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